Joshua Tree National Park

My kids and I were in Palm Springs, California over the Thanksgiving weekend. And one of the highlights of this trip was visiting the magnificent Joshua Tree National Park. We stayed in the city of Indio in Coachella Valley and It was about little more than half an hour drive to the Southern Entrance/Cottonwood Entrance of JTNP from our hotel.

Beautiful landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, California

Beautiful landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, California

Ticket per vehicle is $30 which can be used for the next 7 days. You can spend from half a day to few days or weeks in this park. We bought few water bottles, some protein bars, luncheables, chips, and candies before entering the park. We arrived the Southern Visitor Center around 10:30am and stayed until about 3:30. If you have time and energy, staying longer is highly recommended to enjoy dramatic sunsets or to camp or if you love star gazing…to experience a stunning desert sky from the park. JTNP is a paradise for the hikers, rock-climbers, photographers, nature-lovers, kids, adults, and many more.

If you follow the JTNP map, it’ll take you to all the spots and parts of the park that you want to visit. We made it to most of the places that we planned to visit. These are some of the really cool and beautiful places of JTNP that we loved and the kids enjoyed:

Ocatillo Patch: Ocatillo is not a true cactus but a beautiful plant indigenous to Sonoran and couple other desert in the USA. JTNP has an area, called Ocatillo Patch, (follow the sign). It’s a nice place to take some pictures, walk around, and explore the nature.

Ocatillo Patch in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Ocatillo Patch in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Cholla Cactus Garden: This was one of our favorites. A whole big area on the both sides of the road is covered with cholla cactus, a beautiful looking but very thorny cactus. Be careful with kids here. We ended up spending more than half an hour strolling thru the cacti, taking pictures, and having fun looking at these plants in the desert. We even saw couple small lizards here.

Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Jumbo Rock Campground: This was our number one in the park. Jumbo Rock campground and the surroundings are the places with really huge boulders. My kids couldn’t get enough of rock climbing and the stunning view of everything…the trees, big rocks, mountains, blue sky, everything was part of a big piece of this beauty. It’s a big playground for any age. We stopped at different sections of Jumbo rocks and still couldn’t see all of it.

Jumbo Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Jumbo Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Camping in JTNP is a very popular activity and we saw bunch of tents and RVs parked in Jumbo Rock Campground. I can imagine the beautiful night sky from here. Tourists can spend days among these boulders for rock climbing, photography, or just hiking.

Skull Rock: Skull rock is another jumbo rock which has the shape of a human skull. We didn’t spend much time here other than just taking some photos. But there are other big rocks that can be climbed and trails that can be hiked.

Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Keys View: Keys View is another must. Even if you don’t visit other spots in JTNP, Keys View deserves some attention. This is a view point from where you can see the mountains and Salton sea. Although we didn’t stay too long since it was getting a bit cold, sunset from this spot is very famous…just bring some extra clothes.

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, California

Once we were done, we left the park thru “Joshua Tree” visitor center, which is about 20 miles from Keys View. JTNP doesn’t have any running water, restaurants, café or snack bars or vending machines inside the park. It’s better to bring lots of water bottles, sandwiches or bars, extra clothes, or even maybe first aid kits (just in case you are that unfortunate or clumsy tourist who may have a bad luck with the cacti there).

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The Natural Wonders Of California

With its star-studded cities and sun-kissed beaches, it’s easy to forget that California is also blessed with many jaw-dropping natural wonders around the state. Oddly shaped rock formations, remnants of old volcanos, stark desert land, and stunning mountain vistas attract many visitors to the state. Following are a few must-see natural wonders you’ll want to see when visiting California.

La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits is home to one of the world’s most famous most famous fossil collections. Fascinating fossils of plants and animals have been uncovered here and are on exhibit along with mammoths, dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, and more. Even the pits themselves are interesting with their bubbling tar. Take an Excavation Tour to learn the history of the tar pits and watch scientists working on fossils they have recently uncovered.

Natural Bridges

See the world famous yearly migration of monarch butterflies at this beach near Santa Cruz with its unique natural bridge. The best time to see these phenomenal monarch butterflies is usually from mid-October to late January. It’s also a great place to see rare shore birds, migrating whales, and otters and seals playing offshore. Tidepools along the beach give a glimpse of ocean life. The park’s coastal scrubs and grasslands offer a colorful display of wildflowers each spring. For a longer visit, there are several great hotels near Natural Bridges State Beach.

Mount Wilson

Get a stunning view of the San Gabriel Mountains above the Angeles National Forest at 5,713 feet when visiting Mount Wilson. They even have an observatory that was once the best-known one in the world during the early 20th century. They have a collection of the most detailed photos ever taken of the surface of Mars. Hike the Mount Wilson Trail that loops around a breathtaking waterfall. The 12.5-mile loop is best for experienced hikers.

Joshua Tree National Park

See the charmingly twisted Joshua trees at the 1,235 square-mile Joshua Tree National Park. The area lies between two separate ecosystems, the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. The rugged rock formations and stark desert are quite dramatic. Camp out and go for long hikes to contemplate the park’s natural beauty.

Mojave National Preserve

The 1.6 million-acre Mojave National Preserve is park nestled in the beautiful Mojave Desert. Marvel at the unusual Hole-in-the-Wall cliffs, cinder cones, and lava flows. Listen closely and you’ll hear the “singing” of the humongous dune mounds of Kelso Dunes. Located in Southern California, it’s truly a place of immense beauty.

Old Faithful

Travel out to the Napa Valley to see the lovely wine country and pay a visit to Old Faithful near the town of Calistoga. It isn’t as powerful as the one at Yellowstone, but it erupts faithfully every 10 to 45 minutes depending on the season and amount of rainfall the area has had. This part of the valley was once a volcano that erupted about 4.3 million years ago. The remains simmer to create today’s hot springs. The geyser is powered by nature but was actually created when a 19th-century settler who was digging for a well.

You’ll find more natural wonders scattered about in all parts of California. Leave the glamour and glitz of the city to experience them.

5 tips on how to do a successful mount Kilimanjaro climbing campaign

Africa is certainly a land of wonders and Mount Kilimanjaro is one of them. This dormant volcano is formed with three different volcanic cones- Shira, Mawenzi, and the Kibo. Amidst this, only Kibo is dormant while the other two have gone extinct. Being the highest mountain in Africa it is one of those places which offers exhilaration and thrills on the full scale. The mountain is located in the African country of Tanzania, in the Kilimanjaro national park.

Because of the ethereal beauty of the clouded peak, this is a popular mountain climbing site. Apart from the researches who climb up the mountain to study about the decreasing ice sheets and the glaciers, mountaineers, and local tourists too climb up the mountain.

Pixabay.com

Pixabay.com

The geological contours of the top of the mountain are quite entrancing with a number of landforms like the pinnacles, ridges, the Saddle Plateau, and even the Great Barranco Ridge.

The Tanzania National Park authority governs trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro. You would be amazed by knowing the fact that you cannot rule out this trekking from the list of difficult mountain climbing events because of the dropping temperature, the steep slopes, and the harsh winds.

Though trekking to the summit seems to be the favorite sports of the adventurers, it is important for every individual to exercise certain cautionary steps. These are not only for the safety but also for gaining the maximum memories from this trekking trip.

If you are a newbie to the world of trekking, then these tips will definitely helps you while climbing Kilimanjaro, at a height of 4,900 meters.

  1. Make sure you are choosing the longer route

As the mountain is quite wide in diameter, officially, seven routes are there for the trekking- Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and the Umbwe. Some are shorter while some are longer. Now the choice of these routes will highly affect your success rate of reaching up to the summit. The reason of this ambiguity is that longer the route, your body can accustom with the mountain ambience lucidly. If you plan on choosing a shorter route and saving some extra bucks and also a few days, then you will be decreasing your success route. This is why it is ideal to choose the longer distance and give your body the time to adapt to the changing weather and geographical conditions. Lemosho is the ideal one for you while you can also go for the Machame.

  1. Carry enough things to keep yourself hydrated

The air high up in the altitude is dry and water vapour is barely there. This is why your body can get dehydrated easily. And once your body will start losing water, you will have difficulty in breathing and you might feel drowsy and nauseous too. This is why carrying enough amount of water or other fluids is suggested to avoid the risks of getting completely dehydrated. As the trekking can last for eight days, it is not possible to carry the water supply for so many days. This is why you can carry the purification tablets and gather the water from the numerous mountain streams.

  1. Be calm and slow down your pace

It is not like you are climbing your building to the fifteenth floor using the stairs. This is a mountain and here you will have to take care of your speed. Unlike in other trekking, mountain climbing in Kilimanjaro does include a speed limit. More the speed, more will be your discomfort. You should walk slow during the daytime because that will allow your body to accustom with the decreasing oxygen levels. If you go on spending more energy in climbing faster, your body will use up the oxygen, leaving you out of breath. You can even ask your trekking guide to opt for rest-stepping which is usually employed while climbing the Karakoram ranges or the Everest.

  1. Carry the right gear

While climbing the mountains, taking a proper gear is must. Without the proper one, you won’t be able to go too far, let alone reach the summit within the destined number of days. As the temperature will drop drastically as you will rise up along the slope, it is suggested to carry extra warm protection. Cold blister is very common and so carry extra socks for protection. Make sure you are carrying gloves, and other warm clothes to keep yourself from freezing. Carry a scarf and a brimmed hat to protect your face and head from the sunburns. Carrying light-weighted clothing is suitable as it won’t make your backpack heavy.

  1. Get yourself trained with the climbing issues

One of the main difficulties faced during the Kilimanjaro trekking is coping up with the oxygen deficiency. This is why train yourself prior to your Kilimanjaro holidays to low oxygen levels. One of the best ways to do so is to use the stairs for climbing rather than the elevator. Also, practice walking more since the trekking is done by foot. This will make the muscles of your thighs and your calves strong enough to let you walk on the rugged terrain of the mountain. Also, make sure you are carrying the pills necessary for curbing the altitude fears and the drowsiness.

Lastly, be positive, both mentally and physically and then watch the wonders. The entire trekking routes are full of amazing scenic beauties that will make your journey more interesting and overwhelming. Be sure to spend each moment till your heart is contented.

 

The Best National Parks To Go Camping in America

Looking for an amazing adventure? Consider camping in one of America’s breathtaking national parks! There are over four hundred of them dotted around the country. Each of them have completely different landscapes and things to discover. Here are just a few of the national parks to consider for your next camping trip.

California- Yosemite National Park

Expect to see waterfalls, valleys, meadows, woodland and wilderness in California’s incredible Yosemite National Park. You can go hiking, fishing, horseback riding and rock climbing amongst other things. Just the place for action and adventure! There are over thirteen campsites to choose from within the park; some can be booked ahead, but others are first come first served. And so you’ll want to get there early to avoid any disappointment. You could choose to stay in a deluxe lodge, go camping in an RV or simply take a tent. There’s something for everyone.

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Image from here

Arizona- Grand Canyon National Park

There are two places to camp in Arizona’s breathtaking Grand Canyon National Park. You can take guided tours, see art exhibits and even take part in fitness opportunities. The ‘South Rim’ of the Canyon is open all year. It’s easier to get to since it has good transport links nearby but can become very busy especially in the summer. The North Rim, on the other hand, is wilder and more secluded, it can only be reached by road and is only open for a short season. Therefore if you do want to camp and see the spectacular sights of the Grand Canyon from this direction, be sure to book in advance.

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Image from here

Colorado- Rocky Mountain National Park

At Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. The sensational mountain environment gives you the opportunity to overlook alpine woods. You can go on wildlife viewing tours, and ranger led activities. Spend your days hiking, biking and picnicking, and at night camp under the starry sky. There are five different campsites across the park to choose from.

Washington- Kalaloch National Park

With an astounding view of the Pacific ocean, camp on a gorgeous site overlooking a driftwood covered beach. You can buy or hire camping supplies on site and can stay in either your tent or RV- or in one of the amazing lodges or cabins for more of a ‘glamping’ experience. These are stocked with kitchens and essential kitchen supplies. Perfect if you were looking for a slightly more convenient camping experience.

pexels-photo

Image from here

Utah- Bryce Canyon National Park

See hoodoo rocks in mind-boggling formations along with caves and explore various trails. Visit at the right time of year and you can celebrate Utah Prairie Dog Day or the Annual Astronomy Festival while exploring the park. There are two campgrounds you could choose from, ‘North’ or ‘Sunset.’ There are no hook-ups for RVs here, so you get a true experience of being at one with nature. Both campsites are surrounded by Ponderosa Pine forests giving equal amounts of shade and sun.

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